Union Budget 2022: Battery swapping policy big booster for EV mobility and startups, says industry

The finance minister saying that the private sector will be encouraged to develop sustainable and innovative business models for battery and energy as a service

Press Trust of India February 01, 2022 17:53:25 IST
Union Budget 2022: Battery swapping policy big booster for EV mobility and startups, says industry

Representational image. Reuters.

Mumbai: The Union Budget for 2022-23 aims at strengthening the whole ecosystem of the EV industry, which will spur the demand for green vehicles, the EV industry said on Tuesday. It also said that the introduction of battery swapping policy and interoperability standards announced in the Budget will go a long way in building the use cases and will be a big booster for the startups in the EV space.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday announced that the government will bring a battery swapping policy to boost use of EVS in the country in view of space constraints for setting up charging stations and interoperability standards will be formulated.

"Introducing the battery swapping policy and recognizing battery or energy as a service will help develop EV infrastructure and increase the use of EVs in public transportation. It would motivate businesses engaged in delivery and car aggregation businesses to incorporate EVs into their fleet, said Sohinder Gill, Director General, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles.

It will create new avenues for companies to venture into the business of battery swapping, he said, adding, additionally, creating special clean zones will further accelerate the adoption of EVs and spread awareness amongst the citizens.

"The Union Budget 2022 did show its intent on promoting cleaner mobility. The introduction of battery swapping policy and interoperability standards will go a long way in building the use cases, said Maxwell Lewis, Director CEO at Magenta.

The finance minister saying that the private sector will be encouraged to develop sustainable and innovative business models for battery and energy as a service is a great boost to co-develop the battery swapping and EV charging ecosystem, according to him.

What was missed was an explicit statement of the extension of the FAME scheme and how it can support the expansion of the charging network in India to help facilitate the switch from petrol and diesel-based vehicles to EVs, he added.

Openness to accommodate new age business models like battery swapping are a welcome step, financial decoupling of batteries irrespective of swapping will enable faster adoption. It would be exciting to see some great climate focussed debt lines coming in from blended finance. Bringing EVs and batteries into the priority lending sector was also expected but missed in this budget, said Dr Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log9 Materials.

Samrath Kochar, CEO and Founder of Trontek, India's largest Li-ion battery manufacturer, said the battery swapping policy with interoperability will be boost adoption of EVs as it will help allay the range anxiety and bring the EVs at par with ICE vehicles in terms of time taken for replenishment of fuel.

"The announcement on battery policy is well aligned to this focus and will definitely provide a big boost to the deployment of electrical mobility in the country. This will also boost the deployment of battery-led energy storage systems for complementing the green energy generation and decentralization of energy distribution, said Rajat Verma, Co-founder- CEO at Lohum.
Further, the new tech development in batteries will go a long way in decreasing the dependence on imported battery tech and help domestic firms overcome the global supply-chain and geopolitical issues, he said.

However, with more batteries per EV, the need for recycling these batteries will be incrementally necessary for driving sustainability through clean mobility. Along with the battery policy, we feel that a long-term view on Li-ion battery recycling is also required to bring the segment under circular economy, Verma said.

According to Sachidanand Upadhyay, Founder, Lord's Mark Industries, the formulation of effective interoperability standards is key to leveraging the capabilities of various constituents of the EV ecosystem comprising vehicle OEMs, charge point operators (CPOs), mobility service providers (MSPs) and creating battery manufacturers and making them core participants in a seamless and optimally functioning charging infrastructure.

Such industry-friendly measures will accelerate the initiative to move towards cleaner energy and environment-friendly transportation and boost India's rise as a global production hub for EVs, positioning it as one of the largest markets for electric mobility in the world, he said.

Rajeev Singh, Partner and Automotive leader, Deloitte, said battery swapping policy including interoperability could be a big booster for all the start ups already working in this space.
It could also help drive movement to electrification of fleets especially for last mile connectivity for both people & goods, he added.

"The government continues to provide increasing use of clean energy and EVs. Public transport would increasingly have a higher usage of EVs. Further, a policy for battery swapping will be developed which will ensure standardization and enhance charging infrastructure," said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer at Acuit Ratings & Research.

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